Aklan is famous for Boracay, a resort island one kilometer north from the tip of Panay. It is known for its white sandy beaches and is considered as one of the more prominent destinations in the country. Because of this, there is frequent air travel to the province's airports in Kalibo andCaticlan.
Farming is the basic livelihood in the interior while fishing is the basic livelihood in the coasts. Poorer inhabitants also migrate seasonly to other provinces and islands, particularly Negros, to work mostly in plantations. Some of these migrants include minors.
Despite its vibrant tourism industry and substantial agriculture, the province is still considered as one of the poorer provinces in the country with more than 30% of the population living below the national poverty line.
Aklan depends greatly on agriculture. The massive and sustained education and research in agriculture production, the implementation of national program in agriculture, well-established marketing strategies, as well as the support of the agribusiness industry and other private and non-government sectors, result to better production and higher income of the farmers.
Palay is still the number one crop grown in the province. The total area planted with rice is 42,218 hectares effective area, or 0.39 percent of the total agricultural area of the province. In the year 2000, rice production registered a total of 123,292 metric tons, or an increase of 8,405 metric tons over that of the 1999 production of 115,524 metric tons. The increase in production was attributed to the implementation of the Strategic Agricultural and Fishery Development Program (SAFDP); and, the improvement of the irrigation system that increases the irrigated rice areas.
With the implementation of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice production program using the Hybrid rice, production is expected to increase by 15 percent or an average of 10 metric tons per hectare in the succeeding years. However, the problem of low price support for rice still continues to affect the production sector.
Livestock and Poultry Production
In general, Aklan is sufficient in meat and other livestock and poultry products, though in the inventory of livestock and poultry in the year 2000, hog and chicken had a decrease in population from 114,890 heads of hogs and 886,597 heads of chickens in 1999 to 95,950 heads of hogs and 782,820 heads of chicken in the 2000.
The decrease in production were attributed to the following factors: high cost of feeds, feed supplements and biologics; livestock and poultry diseases; increasing price of chicks; and, high cost of labor.
Coconut still occupies the largest area planted among major permanent agriculture crops. The total area planted with coconut is 32,276 hectares (ha.). Ibajay ranks the largest with 4,317 ha. ; followed by Balete with 2,611 ha, ; Banga with 2,314 ha. ; Makato with 2,089 ha. ; and, Altavas with 2,054 ha. All the rest of the municipalities have areas below 2000 ha. However, in terms of copra production, Makato ranks number one with 2,770 metric tons per year; next is Balete with 2,669; and Libacao with 2,399. The rest produce less than 2000 metric tons. Total production is 25,375 metric tons annually.
Other Permanent Major Crops
Aside from palay and coconut, other major crops that contributed to uplift the economy of Aklan are being developed. These are high valued crops with export potential, such as banana (Lakatan), mango, rambutan, and lanzones; and fiber crops such as piņa fiber and abaca.
Aquaculture constitutes a significant component in the province's fishery industry. The province has a total fishpond area of 7,807.14 hectares (ha.), of which 7,749.9247 ha. Are fully developed and only 57,2153 ha. are underdeveloped. Of the total fishpond areas, 4,512.04162 ha. Are with Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA); 138.85672 ha. Are with permits; 2,729.02636 ha. are on process/application; and, 370.0 ha. are titled.
Aside from Piņa, Abaca abounds in Aklan. Innovations were made out of this fabric to suit' the demanding supply of the fashion market. Dyed abaca cloths are made into place mats. bags, wall decors, fans, etc.
Piņa Cloth Weaving
Beyond Boracay and the Atiatihan, one can also find a dream possession in the province - the Piņa cloth, considered as the "Queen of the Philippine Fabrics," and other fineries made from it. The Piņa cloth is considered a prime produce of Kalibo, weaved from its unique crude wooden or bamboo handloom that changed little from eight centuries ago.
Pot Making in Lezo
Lezo, one of the 17 municipalities of Aklan, is known for its red clay, which the natives use to make pots, vases and various novelty items. The people of Lezo have a means of livelihood because of the abundant supply of red clay provided by nature.